On Trains & Buses

Travel news, views & information from Europe & North America by an independent public transport user

News Snippets

08:44, July 12, 2009

It seems that there are ample public transport options for exploring the Isle of Man by public transport. The website iombusandrail.info should tell you much of what you need to know. Recently, I made a short visit to the island that I hope will pave the way for other trips and turned up a pile of useful information for such endeavours, naturally including public transport planning stuff as well. It may have rained on the day but I am not so easily put off.

Bus Vannin single-decker near Derby Castle station, Douglas, Isle of Man

14:59, June 15, 2009

On visits to the Lake District, I have been struck by the cost of bus travel a few times and the £3.55 that I paid for a one-way ticket from Windermere to the Kirkstone Inn was another reminder of thoughts that have crept into my mind before. That was a distance of around 10 km or 6 miles and cost at least £1 more than its equivalent. Day Rider tickets are not so cheap with one for £9.75 covering the whole area and another covering the Central Lakes for £6.60. If the powers that be want to get people out of their cars and onto public transport, then these costs would have to tumble somehow. For a family, I can foresee it all adding up to such a level that the family car remains the cheaper and easier option. Ironically, the same economic pressures that are bearing down on families are also likely to affect public transport so it’s difficult to see how this is going to change, particularly with public spending cuts on the agenda.

15:02, May 15, 2009

That’s how Macclesfield feels right now and it’s been that way for quite a while now, so much so that you get to wondering when we are going to be left in peace again. There are occasional signs of respite with the Churchill Way traffic light upgrade now out of the way and Broken Cross gas works complete. That still leaves a good number of roads blighted by temporary lights and the junction, Chestergate, Chester Road, Prestbury Road and King Edward Street is every bit a victim of invasive excavations with a chicane in place of two-way traffic. That’s a bit tight but buses can still get about it as they ply their routes as usual. You can only hope for an early end to Macclesfield’s “Big Dig” and be thankful for a certain reduction in traffic caused by the downturn but it would be nice if all of this wasn’t happening at once.

15:09, May 14, 2009

A little while back, I ventured that those booking train tickets should considering if they are really going to use whatever seat reservation they might have made and whether it was a waste of time in the first place. Since then, National Express East Coast have done their bit to force rethinks on the subject of seat reservation by announcing plans to charge for them (£2.50 single and £5 return). It’s a controversial move, particularly given the size of fare increases in the last few years, and some of complained publicly about the development. However, if it improves apparent seat availability for hop-on passengers, that may not be such a bad thing and its introduction starts on Sunday.

20:31, April 27, 2009

Given the times in which we are living and the time of year that it is, my sensibilities responded well to a new WordPress theme that has come my way. It certainly got me changing things over and I hope that you enjoy it too. That’s not to say that there mightn’t be a few rough edges waiting to ambush the unwary but my intention is that there shouldn’t be many of them and that I can find them before you do. All in all, replacing the more austere black and white forbear with something brighter just feels right. With all the talk of austerity, I reckon that it is badly needed and let’s hope that bus service provision doesn’t get too curtailed as we make our way though the current difficulties. After all, when all of the woes are extracted from Pandora’s Box, hope remains. That’s never not a bad thought…

12:55, April 20, 2009

The Cheshire East and Cheshire West & Chester councils seem to have taken up the baton for public transport information from the now defunct Cheshire County Council. The welcome practice of having a list of bus tables has lived on in the websites for the new councils. Hopefully, progress from here will continue in the right direction. In addition, both new authorities are to work with Warrington Borough Council so my hope is that best practices can continue to be shared and promoted while keeping a certain pan-county approach too.

09:36, April 8, 2009

I may be late coming upon this given my use of a bicycle for the daily commute in recent times but bus services in Macclesfield that usually run along Churchill Way are back on there as before. We can now return to former ways now that the disruptive traffic light works have been completed. Let’s hope that things like that don’t get visited upon us for a while again. It would be good if some attention could be turned to the general state of the roads and footways in the town in place of big projects like this.

12:02, March 26, 2009

Most of my trips to Éire involve my taking a taxi to Manchester Airport on the outbound portion and a train journey back from there on my return. The full price single would appear to be around the £10 mark but its been a while since I purchased one so I am not sure of the price. The reason for that is that I stick with Cheap Evening Returns (or whatever they are called in these allegedly simpler times of Advance/Off-Peak/Anytime ticketing) instead and the whole cost comes to £5.30 (£1.60 as far as Manchester Piccadilly and £3.70 from there to Macclesfield). A recent inspection of the National Rail website reveals that the same price is offered to you for travel between 18:30 and 21:00 so their algorithm must be getting more slick to pick up these things. Another example is the cost of a single fare for travel from Manchester to Macclesfield is usually £7.30 but, on the website, this drops to £3.70 for travel during the same time period. In a time when every pound matters, knowing of this stuff is useful though Northern Rail conductors are good when it comes to supplying you with cheaper fares in the evening time.

15:14, March 25, 2009

I was in Éire and noticed that a new delivery of buses had been put to work by Dublin Bus on their airport 747 and 748 services. Some of the older ALX400’s from 2000 are still used but new Wright doubledeckers are very visible. Both sets have Volvo engines and chassis so that hasn’t changed and the seats in the new ones look uncannily like those in their older counterparts. Apart from the differences in bodywork, the difference in smoothness is noticeable even if the paintwork is similar on both. Given the economic deterioration and its effects on the Irish public finances, I suppose that new bus expenditure will take lower priority for Dublin Bus for the foreseeable future. That has happened before following the economic turmoil of the mid-eighties but the end of that decade saw plans for replacing loud-engined Bombardiers with something more conventional with Leyland Olympians taking over the course of the next decade. If the Irish economy emerges from its current tight spot and it looks a hard slog, investment in new vehicles may restart again but there still could be a noticeable wait before that will be seen.

14:58, March 5, 2009

For a number of years, the 19/19X Macclesfield-Whirley-Prestbury service has been something of an ugly duckling with elderly and not so elderly Mercedes midi-buses fulfilling passenger carrying duties. However, that may change with the awarding of the hourly Monday-Saturday service to Bowers. Apparently, Bowers may be getting the council-owned Macclesfield Rider branded short wheelbase Dennis Darts displaced by the changeover of the 392/3 Macclesfield-Stockport service from Arriva to Bakerbus and these would be used for the Prestbury service. In the intervening period, they have been used on the Connect 88 Knutsford-Wilmslow-Altrincham service along with the larger Optares that are its mainstay. They may be a number of years old now but their low floors would be a boon for those whose mobility isn’t what it might be. Of course, the state of repair of the buses will having a bearing on how people perceive the service. However, it has to look as if it has lost of its unloved appearance and that can only be a good thing.

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